Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Unavoidable Seating Plan

If you've gone through any sort of government run school system, you've most likely been the victim of a seating plan.  Those teachers, they come into the classroom and move students around like shuffling a deck of cards.  They take us from our friends put us beside people we may not know very well (or even like) and stick us up at the front, or in back corners when those may be the opposite of what we want or are comfortable with.

Seating plans whomp.

Image of a classroom with rows of empty desks and chairsAnd yet, now in the Teacher-role, I become the perpetrator.  I see that in some cases (and classes) seating plans are unavoidable.  Left to their own choices, certain students will group together and chat the period away.  What choice does a teacher then have?

This is one of my current challenges.  And I mean challenge.

I am learning that there can never be a perfect seating plan--at least, not while my classroom is at capacity.  Every way I turn, there are obstacles.  First and foremost, the chatters.  A and B cannot sit together because they do not pay attention.  G, L and N are not overly chatty, but they should still be separated as well.  Students S through Z need to be moved to the center of the classroom and if possible the front because they are zoning out in the wings.   Ah! But don't forget that students F and H have vision problems and need to be closer to the front.  And then, if you're moving the more inattentive students to the center, where do you put the students who are really trying?  Will they think you are punishing them if you put them in the wings?

It may seem silly to worry how 15-year-olds will react to a seating arrangement.  I am, after all, the teacher and I will have the last word in this scenario: the end.  But... I honestly wish that I could make a seating plan that they could both accept and and understand.  A seating plan, in my view, is not supposed to be a punishment of any sort.  It is meant to help foster learning by creating a better environment in the classroom and ideally putting students in a position to build their own knowledge. 

Ideally.  

Ideally, seating plans would not be needed and students would be find no matter where they sat.  But, this is the real world and seating plans, in many cases, are unavoidable.

1 comment:

Sarrah said...

You know I've never really thought about the logic behind seating plans. I guess I as always just got upset when they put me somewhere I didn't want to be :P